To ensure public safety as a $42 million improvement project moves into its next stage at Lakeshore Park, the park’s Northshore Drive entrance and exit will be closed temporarily, beginning Monday, Oct. 10, 2022.
The entrance will remain closed for six to eight months, as contractor teams continue grading, removing thousands of square yards of rock and installing roughly $4 million in drainage infrastructure.
Soon, the work will evolve into construction of four new baseball fields, a new fieldhouse with event space, three new pavilions, a new playground, a park maintenance building, new parking and walkways at the soccer fields, an outdoor seating area for small meetings and gatherings, a large sculptural mound, renovation of the playground and restrooms at the Hecht Pavilion, a new meadow, and improvements to the walking trail in the 42-acre southwest portion of the park.
Also included in the upgrades, when the Northshore Drive entrance reopens in spring 2023, will be a safer design. The park entrance will be wider and feature an acceleration lane, making it safer for exiting motorists to merge onto northbound Northshore Drive. And the park’s perimeter loop trail will be moved further into the park, avoiding the current potential conflict between pedestrians on the loop and vehicles entering the park.
The Northshore Drive entrance is scheduled to reopen next spring, roughly when the youth soccer season starts.
Until then, all park visitors will need to use the park’s Lyons View Pike entrance and exit, across from the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery.
City and Lakeshore Park Conservancy officials ask that park visitors be patient when there is traffic congestion entering or leaving the park during peak times. On average, more than 3,000 people a day visit Lakeshore Park.
The Conservancy will hire off-duty police officers to help direct traffic when there are large events at the park involving several hundred participants.
In addition, the southwestern section of the park’s popular perimeter loop will be closed, beginning Nov. 1, 2022, and remaining closed until the park project is completed in spring 2024.
However, the Lakeshore Park Conservancy with City support is building a temporary 1,000-foot-long 8-foot-wide soft-surface trail that will skirt the construction zone but still allow walkers to enjoy a smaller circuitous tour of the park. The temporary trail will connect to the HGTV Overlook area and link to existing trails unaffected by the construction zone.
The Phase 2 improvements are part of the work contemplated by the master plan for Lakeshore Park that was prepared by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects and approved by City Council after gathering public input.
Lakeshore Park is a public facility owned by the City of Knoxville and managed and developed by the Conservancy, and the City and the Conservancy share maintenance of the 185-acre park.